JOHNSON CITY, TN- Blountville’s Bryan Horne is no stranger to baseball players and fans in the Tri-Cities.
“I love baseball,” Horne said. “I’ve always loved baseball.”
Horne has umpired for the last 15 years and it all started when he wanted to be closer to his son on the diamond.
“My son wanted to play, so when he did, that was exciting for me to be able to be out there and help him as a coach and then do some umpiring as well,” Horne said. “He’s 24 now, so it’s been a long time.”
But during those first little league games with his son, Horne never would have imagined he’d someday be heading to Williamsport, Pennsylvania to umpire at the Little League World Series.
“This is a once in a lifetime thing,” Horne said. “Thought never really crossed my mind when I first started.”
Horne is one of just sixteen volunteer umpires selected for the LLWS from across the world. To be selected, hopefuls must umpire local little league games, state tournaments and a regional tournament. The umpires are then evaluated in hopes of earning a World Series recommendation.
“Go home and open the mailbox and there’s a letter from Little League International and it kind of gets your heart racing,” Horne said. “Then you open it up and there it says ‘congratulations you’ve been selected’ and it’s just a real exciting time.”
But don’t worry, Horne will continue to call balls and strikes behind the plate in the Tri-Cities once the Little League World Series is complete.
“You can only do it one time. I’ll continue to umpire here locally. I’ll continue to do it, I think, as long as I can, as long as I’m physically able and as long as it’s fun because I do enjoy the game and I really enjoy being a part of it.”